- David Leighton – Concert Pianist & Vocal Coach
I started playing the piano at age 5, began coaching singers at age 16, joined the Metropolitan Opera at 22 and remained there during the 1970’s as Assistant Conductor and Assistant Chorus Master, where I worked with the greatest singers in the world and appeared with many of them as concert accompanist. Robert Merrill, Luciano Pavarotti and Leontyne Price are just a few of the monumental performers I was honored to perform with.
Before going to the Met I studied at the University of Minnesota (B.A.) and the Juilliard School (M.S.), but it was at the Met that I encountered my main teacher and mentor, Alberta Masiello, one of the most respected vocal coaches in Met history, and a stunning pianist. Miss Masiello could make the piano sing, and she and my voice teacher Franco Bertacci were the most important influences on my musical development.
I have conducted opera and symphonic repertoire extensively in Dessau, Germany and in America with companies such as the Dallas Opera, Nashville Opera, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. I have sung the role of the Judge in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and performed as piano soloist with orchestra in numerous piano concertos including Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto, Beethoven’s Fifth Concerto (Emperor) and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. My varied experience has helped me greatly to understand the different learning preferences I encounter as a teacher.